• Colleen R. Carpenter

Wrapping it Up with Tyvek

I know what you’re thinking… Why the heck is Word Processing Diva, LLC writing an article about Tyvek? I have a short and sweet answer to that. Because I LOVE CONSTRUCTION that’s why, and if I could shout it from a perfectly pitched, Cross Gable rooftop, I would. And believe me, had I known 30 years ago how much I love architecture, home development, and interior design, I'd be filthy rich by now.

In case you’re wondering, yes, Word Diva has dabbled in many successful home improvement projects and is quite handy with tools. I actually took a semester in construction where we built (and sold) a shed, so I was fortunate to get a sampling of everything from drywall installation to hanging doors and windows so don’t let these dainty hands fool you! (They can do a whole lot more than type 70 wpm.) Check out this photo of me up on a ladder at the Somerset County Technical Institute wielding a Pneumatic Framing

Nailer, and a smile. I loved that class and the instructor, Mr. Farnham, was awesome.

So, back to my unfulfilled construction dreams… In order to mitigate my situation, I’ve decided to take another approach and connect this passion to something else I’m trying to accomplish-becoming a better writer. I’ve learned that in order to be a good writer you must write–a lot–and preferably about something you care about, and voila! Here I am creating my first, of hopefully many, posts about construction topics of interest to me, and possibly others. I've decided to further educate myself on various construction and home improvement topics, and share that information from a layperson’s perspective. What do you think? These articles aren't meant to be overly complicated, just informative and hopefully a tad entertaining.

Professionals in these fields are certainly welcome to chime in to clarify or expound upon topics if desired. Even if no one reads these posts, I will have enjoyed writing them and researching the topics. I’ve always had a curious nature and love to learn new things, so for me, this is a win-win situation.

The topic of Tyvek came to mind when I noticed a new construction going up near my place of work. I got excited, as I always do, seeing a new structure being erected from groundbreaking to a fully functioning building. I believe that the imaginations and creativity of architects and interior designers are absolutely fascinating.

Since construction is currently underway, I wonder how the finalized building will be used. Sure, I could search Google to find out, but that would spoil the fun of envisioning the final result. As the days go by, I ponder what materials and color scheme will be used for the exterior of the building, and what special design details will take place inside. I actually look forward to driving past that building each day to see what progress has been made and what phase of the project is underway.

One day I drove by the site and saw that the entire building had been wrapped in white paper. I’ve seen this situation before, but this time I vowed to find out exactly what it was and why it was necessary to wrap up an entire building like a Christmas gift. The word “TYVEK” was stamped all over the paper, so I began my quest to find out more about it and why this process was necessary.

Well, it turns out that Tyvek was actually created by an innovative company called DuPont which was founded in 1802. The company’s website describes Tyvek as having “infinite possibilities,” and further goes on to state that it’s not paper, nor fabric, but consists of high-density polyethylene fibers that are 100% recyclable. Do you know what else I saw on the website that made me smile? These words: “We encourage our customers to develop new ideas for Tyvek®, and to dream big.” Wow. Look at that. I love DuPont already.

I’ve learned that the reason construction companies wrap buildings in Tyvek is because it is strong, waterproof, and tear-resistant. The sheets contain tiny perforations allowing water vapor to get in while keeping liquid water out. In other words, it protects buildings from moisture while still allowing it to breathe.

You'd be surprised to know of some other uses for Tyvek that have absolutely nothing to do with construction. It's also used to wrap cargo containers to keep them moisture-free during travel. Additionally, it's used to make coveralls to protect workers in a variety of industries like asbestos and radiation work.

Tyvek Coveralls

Tyvek can be found in many forms of medical packaging, replacing paper and other forms of plastic due to its strength, resistance to water, and sterile qualities. It's used to create envelopes, labels, and wristbands. Have you ever been to a vacation resort where you wear a wristband to prove you're entitled to be there? Sometimes those are made of Tyvek, so forget about tearing it off with your bare hands and go ahead and get those scissors.

Some countries have even created their banknotes using Tyvek. And, amazingly, some fashion designers have incorporated this incredible textile into clothing by making Tyvek shorts, jackets, and even shoes. Ingenious, functional, and multi-use. Way to go DuPont. Tyvek rocks!

Tyvek Dress


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